For the more than 35 million Americans who suffer from eczema, beauty may feel like it’s only skin deep. That’s because, without treatment, eczema can significantly reduce one’s quality of life. But what exactly is it, and how can you treat it?
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that shows itself in the forms of dry, red, itchy and scaly skin. Eczema can be mild, appearing as patches of dry, irritated dermatitis, or in extreme chapped and oozing skin during a more severe reaction. The most common forms of eczema are atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.
Have you tried a new laundry detergent or body wash, only to experience a rash, burning or blisters on the skin? If so, you may have experienced contact dermatitis, which is caused by an allergic reaction to an irritant such as dander or pollen, or contact with an irritant such as bleach or tobacco smoke. Allergic contact dermatitis is more common in adults and children who have a history of eczema. This condition is usually chronic; once you’ve had a reaction to an allergen, repeated exposure will cause symptoms to reoccur, sometimes even more severe than previous exposures.
A reaction present in a variety of skin disorders, eczema is classified in the same category of medical conditions as asthma and hay fever. The more common variety of these two kinds of eczema, atopic dermatitis typically begins early in life; in fact, 70% of incidences are reported before the age of five. What causes it is not fully understood, but unlike contact dermatitis – which is an immune response triggered by a catalyst or irritant in the environment – atopic dermatitis tends to pop up erratically.
Home remedies to treat eczema
A genetic component means that in some circumstances, flare-ups can’t be avoided, but if you’re susceptible to them – there are many precautions you can take. If you live in a polluted area, atopic dermatitis is more common. While moving to a new location may not be an option, even small modifications to your daily routine can make a difference.
Treat like an allergy
When it comes to moisturizing, try a twice-a-day regimen and skip the scents (fragrances are never friendly to sensitive skin). Apply to the affected area before your anti-itch cream to allow for better permeation. Sometimes, non-prescription allergy meds can alleviate itching; just be sure to check the label; drugs such as Benadryl can cause drowsiness.
Winter can be the most wonderful time of the year – but for eczema sufferers, it ushers in a host of skin challenges. Indoor heating systems can be cruel; sucking the moisture out of our skin. After a day ice skating or a long commute, a hot bath may seem like what the doctor ordered. Instead, keep it warm and limit your time in the tub – it’ll prevent you from drying out. When you hit the hay, run a humidifier to infuse some moisture into your abode. Opt for smooth, comfortable loose-fitting clothing, in lieu of itchy fabrics like wool. If your hands are particularly affected, drench your hands in a therapeutic cream and wear light cotton gloves to seal in moisture.
Time to see the doctor
You may be wondering when eczema demands treatment by a physician. If you or your child have a noticeable skin irritation or aren’t responding to at-home remedies – it’s time to seek the help of a medical expert.
Your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid ointment or cream that will mitigate the incessant itching and reduce inflammation while restoring the skin’s outer layers. If you show signs of an infection, an antibiotic cream or oral antibiotic may be prescribed.
In some cases, the chronic rash could be allergic contact dermatitis. Allergy patch testing can determine what substances can be causing the irritation. It is a painless, needle-free process that can test for the most common allergens based on your medical history, occupation, and environment.
Vanguard Skin Specialists located in Colorado Springs uses traditional and the latest therapies to get you the right diagnosis and treatment to live happily with the skin you’re in.
Living at a high altitude can affect your skin. If bouts of eczema are preventing you from enjoying everything Colorado Springs has to offer, don’t delay – call Vanguard Skin Specialists today at 719-355-1585.